November 29, 2012 - 2:07 PM
Five and a half years ago, Const. Michael (Mike) Jacobson took a bike ride that saved a man's life and last week earned him specific recognition from some of the highest offices in the province.
Jacobson was off duty and bicycling up Silver Star Road on a hot July day in 2007 when he got the feeling something had happened up ahead. As he crested a hill in the 5700 block, he noticed that the usual bustle of people in their yards had gone dead.
"Nobody was moving, everybody was looking the same way," he says. "I thought, there must have been an accident."
Within seconds, Jacobson's eyes found the focus of everyone's attention: A man sprawled on the trunk of a car.
Just a few moments before Jacobson had arrived on the scene, two workers were driving a moving truck and realized they were going the wrong way. They decided to pull into a driveway and turn around. The passenger hopped out to guide traffic around the cumbersome truck as the driver maneuvered it into the driveway. The 45-year-old passenger had a safety vest, but in the rush, forgot to put it on.
Meanwhile, an elderly driver was coming down Silver Star Road in his Subaru car. He saw the moving truck, steered around it, but didn't notice the man directing traffic until that man was draped over his car.
Jacobson registered the shattered windshield and the man lying unconscious on the trunk, then went into action.
"He wasn't breathing," he says. "His legs were broken and his left arm had a compound fracture."
Bystanders watched the event unfold from their yards, and the driver of the Subaru, who was unhurt but covered in glass, remained nearby.
"I used to be a lifeguard," says Jacobson. He knew his training: he immediately immobilized the victim's spine and used his hands to open his airway.
A split second later, the man took a breath. Jacobson kept his hands clamped to the victim's face in an emergency jaw thrust and stayed with the man until Vernon Fire Rescue and an ambulance crew arrived to take over.
Jacobson says he called his wife to pick him up because he didn't think he could bike to work on time.
No charges were laid on the driver of the Subaru, and the victim recovered from his injuries in an intensive care unit. Police believe the man would be dead if Jacobson hadn't appeared when he did.
"I heard from the investigator that he was OK, but I never talked to him," he says.
Jacobson was among 34 officers who were recently awarded for going beyond the call of duty. The awards were presented last Thursday at the province's 32nd annual Police Honours Night, held at Government House in Victoria. Jacobson was presented with a meritorious service award and says meeting Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon and Attorney General Shirley Bond was a personal highlight. Jacobson says he was flattered to receive the award.
"It sure was nicer than giving out tickets," he says.
At the time of the event, Jacobson was stationed with the Falkland police detachment. Presently, he works with the North Okanagan Traffic Enforcement.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012